Tigers Improve to 24-1; Alone in SEC Lead

Seniors led the charge for the Tigers as the Auburn women's basketball team defeated Kentucky.

Auburn, Ala.--Senior point guard Whitney Boddie sparked the Tigers to an 81-69 SEC women's basketball victory on Thursday night to improve Auburn's record to 24-1 overall and 9-1 in the SEC.

Auburn's victory, combined with Florida's 84-68 loss at Vanderbilt on Thursday night, leaves the Tigers in first place in the SEC by themselves.

Boddie scored 20 points and added 10 assists for the Tigers. She made 9-13 field goals as she finished one point short of her career-high scoring game.

"I thought our transition game was really clicking," said Auburn coach Nell Fortner, whose Tigers outscored Kentucky 16-2 in fastbreak points.

The transition baskets helped the Tigers shoot an impressive 58.7 percent for the game. Kentucky hit 40.6 percent of its shots.

Auburn' ability to run helped the Tigers build as much as a 23-point lead in the first half. UK trimmed the lead to six points in the second half, but that was a close as the visitors could get.

Kentucky head coach Matthew Mitchell said, "Well, that was a very difficult game for us tonight. Obviously, Auburn in a great basketball team and they showed that tonight and my hat is off to them. They gave a great effort and really overwhelmed us in the first half with just some fantastic play.

"I thought Whitney Boddie was as good as I've seen her all year and got an always good performance from DeWanna Bonner, so as she always plays. So, it was a real good effort for Auburn, real disappointed to lose."

Commenting on her game, Boddie said, "I wouldn't say I was in the zone, I was just really trying to make plays because they were backing off. The whole game when I was running down the sideline I could hear their coach saying, ‘Back off her, she's not going to shoot' so I was just trying to let the game come to me, but at the same time be aggressive and also get my teammates shots."

Three other seniors helped carry the scoring load for Auburn as Bonner contributed 17 points and led the Tigers in rebounding with nine. Sherell Hobbs scored 15 points for the Tigers and Trevesha Jackson added 10 points and six rebounds.

Sophomore Alli Smalley finished 11 points with seven rebounds for the Tigers, who are ranked fifth nationally.

"Kentucky came in here hungry for a win," Fortner said. "They played hard and they attacked the glass so hard. They played really well in the second half."

Auburn managed to win the rebounding battle 37-31 vs. UK, which dropped to 3-6 in the league and 13-12 in all games.

Alli Smalley handles the ball for the Tigers on Thursday night.

Auburn steadily pulled away from Kentucky with a good-shooting first half to delight a crowd of 3,216 fans.

The Tigers made 21-34 first half field goals (61.8 percent) while going 4-4 at the foul line. UK could not keep pace as the Lady Kats hit just 11-33 field goals and 1-2 free throws in the first half.

The Tigers also enjoyed a 23-13 first half rebound advantage to help them take a 47-27 lead into the locker room.

Boddie led the Tigers in the first half with 10 points and seven assists while Bonner scored eight points and added six rebounds.

For the game, Auburn was 6-8 at the foul line and had 21 assists and jus 12 turnovers. The Tigers made 1-5 threes.

Kentucky hit 11-14 foul shots and had 13 assists and 13 turnovers. UK was 6-16 on three-point shots.

Eleia Roddy led UK with 21 points and 10 rebounds.

New Auburn head football coach Gene Chizik gave the team a pre-game speech.

On Coach Gene Chizik's pregame speech… "He was so gracious to do that and I appreciate it so much," Fortner said. "Our team and me personally and our staff, we go to every home football game. We love football and we are at all of the Tiger Walks. We know the football players. We love that part of Auburn.

"I knew the kids would get very excited to have him in the locker room and it was just a typical coach speech. I mean, we all say about the same thing, but it was really nice to hear some things come out of his mouth that they hear come out of our mouth all the time and he's got a lot of fire in him. I just really appreciate him doing that; I know the team really enjoyed it. It was good."

Auburn returns to action on Sunday at Mississippi State. Tipoff is set for 2 p.m. CST.

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